Hoeven Outlines Progress on Nuclear Modernization, Need for Credible Deterrent

Senator Addresses Task Force 21 Virtual Conference

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today outlined the need to continue modernizing the nation’s nuclear forces, highlighting the progress he has helped achieve through his role on the Senate Defense Appropriations Committee. Hoeven made the remarks during a virtual nuclear triad conference hosted by the Minot Area Chamber of Commerce’s Task Force 21. The senator stressed ongoing efforts by the nation’s adversaries to surpass America’s nuclear capabilities and how the investments Congress has made, including in the dual nuclear missions at the Minot Air Force Base, will ensure a credible deterrent for years to come. To this end, Hoeven continues working to fully fund the following priorities in Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 appropriations legislation and keep the efforts on or ahead of schedule: 

  • Upgrades to the B-52, including the new engine program.
  • The new Long Range Stand Off (LRSO) missile to replace the Air Launched Cruise Missile carried on the B-52.
  • The new Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD), which will replace the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).
  • Developing new cruise missile and ICBM warheads.
  • replacement helicopter for the aging UH-1 helicopters that provide security for the ICBM silos.

“Our nuclear deterrent has been key to our national defense for more than 70 years, and at the same time, it is the most-cost-effective investment we can make to prevent conflict with other major world powers,” Hoeven said. “We cannot afford to ignore the advancements our adversaries are making. That’s exactly why we continue working to keep the modernization of our nuclear triad on track, including upgrades for the bombers and ICBMs at the Minot Air Force Base. Task Force 21 is an important partner in these efforts, and we appreciate the opportunity to discuss these critical issues with key leaders during their conference today.”

Earlier this year, Hoeven also helped pass the Senate’s FY2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and worked to ensure this legislation continued authorization for the aforementioned priorities. Further, the NDAA included:

  • A Hoeven-sponsored amendment to prevent delays in deploying the GBSD.
    • All nuclear weapons must be capable of withstanding electro-magnetic pulses (EMPs). Hoeven’s amendment requires the Air Force to report on how the GBSD will be protected from EMPs to keep the replacement on schedule.
  • prohibition on reducing ICBMs to any lower than the currently deployed 400 missiles.